Pictures of You

No music today, as I’m waiting for a delivery from HMV Online (as they don’t have the singles I want in their shops). Instead, here’s a few pictures:

currently playing: Aimee Mann - Pavlov’s Bell

The First Album is Quite Rare

Watch out, everybody, Malcolm McLaren thinks he’s discovered a new music scene (and, typical of McLaren, doesn’t realise that it’s been going for at least ten or so years). Maybe it’s just me, but it reads like a rant complaining about all these new-fangled microprocessors — aren’t valves all anybody needs?

I don't see the problem with Pro-Tools; it's a tool for music production, just like an an analogue mixing desk, a tape machine, and all the other parts of the studio it replaces. Any artificiality is a result of the person using it, rather than a problem with the software itself. If McLaren really thinks that it's the software's fault, then I don't understand where he's coming from, as the LittleSoundDJ cartridge he enthuses about is little more than a collection of old Roland samples; surely if the scene is really pure, then they'd wouldn't be satisfied with anything less than a properly restored TR-808? Why does the use of old Gameboy sound chips make this music any more real than the latest Neptunes production?

I've no doubt that there's good music coming from this scene (I'll be going on a hunt after I finish writing this entry), but I hate the retro argument that McLaren espouses. As if all we can do is remain trapped in the past, with music trapped in a vinyl cage. As if we shouldn't look to the future. As if music shouldn't be easier to create. Who cares if you use a Gameboy, a half-broken C64, a Powerbook G4, or a four-track tape machine to make it?

currently playing: Björk - Alarm Call

Elliott Smith: 1969-2003


currently playing: R.E.M. - Turn You Inside-out

Ball of Confusion

Sometimes it all seems to change so fast; this morning, it was a great day for Northern Ireland. Sinn Fein gave the clearest sign yet that the war was over, the Unionists welcomed this announcement, and then the IRA gave a statement backing up Gerry Adams and committing to the continuing decommission of its arms. Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern announced that elections for the Stormont Parliament would be held in November. Things were looking up.

Four hours later, it all seems to have fallen apart again. David Trimble, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (the biggest Unionist party in NI), took issue with this afternoon's decommissioning announcement by General de Chastelain (to sum up: He can't say what they got rid of, but it was a lot of guns). As of tonight, it looks like it's all gone horribly wrong yet again.

I can see Trimble's position; I think he's ready to jump for a new Stormont assembly, and that he'd quite like to be the UUP leader that brought peace to the region. However, there's a sizable section of his party (and the electorate in the area too) that won't be satisfied until they see every last IRA gun destroyed with their own eyes (they're normally surprisingly quiet when it comes to the subject of Loyalist arms, but that's another debate). Trimble has to be careful, as his position as leader is shaky at best, and he doesn't want the party to be routed in the November elections by the hard-line DUP. The IRA, on the other hand, have hopefully realised that violence is not the answer, but I think that they want to keep the extent of their weapons cache under wraps (perhaps it was larger than British intelligence thought?), and while they're receptive to the peace process, they're not willing to bend over backwards to save Trimble. Hence the current deadlock.

On some days, all you want to do is round them up, lock them in a room, and not let them out until they've come up with a solution. Perhaps it's time to break out the IKEA Paas Table again

currently playing: Spiritualized — I Think I’m In Love

Save It For Later

Today, I’ve managed to avoid discovering any more skeletons in my heroes’ closets. Hurrah!

Did I mention that Neil Gaiman is going to be having a signing at the Oxford Borders in November? Anybody fancy going?

currently playing: Longpigs — Lost Myself

Religion Special!

I thought that it was the Middle East countries that were supposed to be full of crazed religious lunatics? “I knew that my God was bigger than his.” Boy, I feel safe in the knowledge that Lt. Gen. Boykin is one of the top men in the Pentagon, don’t you?

The Pope began the process of making Mother Teresa a Saint earlier today. It all seems a bit too fast to me; there's quite a bit of evidence that she wasn't the huggable, snuggable figure that the media continues to present, and the miracle that has been attributed to her seems to be more of a triumph of medicine than divine intervention. There doesn't seem to be any particular need to rush on these things, either; it normally takes decades, or even centuries, for a person to become a saint, so why do things have to be speeded up just for her?

7-11! 1,300 different flavours! Three different discernible tastes!

currently playing: Madness — Our House

The Great Gatsby

The film doesn’t quite have the charm and pizzaz of the book, does it?

currently playing: The Great Gatsby

Back On The Chain Gang

Today’s music selection is all old songs, as I haven’t started listening to the radio again yet. I have got hold of the new Johnny Greenwood (from Radiohead) solo album, but I haven’t played it yet. Anyway, some of these might be new to you…

  • SpiritualizedLadies and Gentlemen, we Are Floating In Space (Original Version)

    This is the version that the estate of Elvis Presley suppressed, as it uses lyrics from "I Can't Help Falling In Love". Haunting and lovely.

  • R.E.M.Stumble

    Taken from the almost-impossible-to-find Chronic Town E.P., this is a very early R.E.M. record (1982), in celebration of the fact it's a week since we went to the concert (and yes, Bill Berry is on drums).

  • The 5,6,7,8'sWoo-hoo

    I mentioned this band yesterday, so here's a track from the Kill Band soundtrack. Japanese punk goodness.

  • The Folk ImplosionGravity Decides

    This was played this morning thanks to the random feature on my music player; it's a nice little song, so I thought I'd share it with you all.

currently playing: Clinic — The Second Line

You're Right On Time

As I said, two days. Jet lag now in full effect. Hurrah!

For all the Americans reading: when this Pepsi promotion goes into full effect, and if it allows arbitrary downloads, throw a couple of codes in my direction, okay 8-)? And if you aren't blessed with a Mac, then don't worry, for the Gentleman's MP3 Player is finally available for Windows (albeit Windows 2000/XP). Yes, iTunes really is that good. Smart Playlists, a browsing system that actually works, a random play feature that seems to use a random number generator, unlike, say, WinAMP, plus all the Music Store goodness.

I can also throughly recommend the 5, 6, 7, 8's, although you can't get them from iTMS yet, so it's back to Kazaa for the time being…

currently playing: The 5,6,7,8’s — Woo-hoo

Driver 8 Take A Break

Somebody switched off the sun while I was away, didn’t they?

Jet lag has yet to hit me, but it normally kicks in a day or so after I land, so I'll probably get it tomorrow. Yay me.

I signed the contract for the magazine article today, so hopefully it'll get published soon. I'll keep you updated.

Um, not much else to talk about today. Did some work on my secret plan to fight inflation, but that's about it. More tomorrow, perhaps…

currently playing: The Go-Go’s — Vacation